Celebrating Women in Motorsport Day at the British Grand Prix
Today at the 2022 FORMULA 1 LENOVO BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Motorsport UK, W Series and Silverstone jointly celebrated Women in Motorsport Day – a dedicated day to celebrate women involved in the sport from across all areas.
Throughout the day women from across the sport posted their stories across social media using the #WomeninMotorsport hashtag. From those who are involved in media capacities, to the fans sitting in the stands and army of volunteers making the British Grand Prix happen, they showcased the many routes and opportunities that are opening for greater female involvement in motorsport.
To mark the occasion, a panel discussion hosted by TV reporter Amy Reynolds took place within the W Series Paddock in Silverstone, featuring:
- Catherine Bond Muir: CEO of W Series and Board Member of Motorsport UK
- Helen Bashford-Malkie: Board Member of Motorsport UK, Member of FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, and Chair of Motorsport UK’s Women in Motorsport Sub-Committee
- Stephane Bazire: Head of Business Sustainability at Silverstone
- Gail Millward-Jackson: Events and Entries Secretary of Under-17 Motor Club North West
The group discussed the barriers and solutions to encouraging more women to enter the world of motorsport.
50 women attended the event, representing competitors, volunteers, team professionals, engineers, racemakers, officials and fans to hear the conversation, as well as join in and talk to the panelists.
Bond Muir opened the discussion by noting how far the industry has come, “It is not just about W Series, it is about the whole world of Motorsport in the UK working towards a better and more diverse future.
“We have had lots of successes of drivers who have come to W Series and left W Series to go on and race in other series. But we are not just about drivers. It is about female engineers, mechanics and all those working in the teams. I am nothing without this team behind me.
“We need to continue the progress in the future. I think we need to democratise the whole sport. Marshals and stewards are equally as important as drivers are.”
Bashford-Malkie, whose motorsport career spans decades, reinforced Bond Muir’s comments, saying, “The British Women Racing Drivers Club is holding its diamond jubilee this year. We’ve gone from a situation where there weren’t even toilets at race venues for women a few decades ago, to people proactively talking about how to encourage more women into motorsport as a priority and that is exactly what the industry needs.”
Her comments were followed up on by Bazire who noted that Silverstone is expecting 400,000 people this year and there are more opportunities than ever to get involved. “Maybe the best way to start is to become a racemaker. Without the volunteers we wouldn’t have a high level of satisfication. Most of it is due to the fantastic work that the racemakers are providing, always willing to provide a solution.
Bazire also said that at the heart of sustainability is people. “One of the big pillars of sustainability is people. I joined last year and people are a big part of the journey alongside the environment.”
Millward-Jackson then gave an account of her own journey, emphasising the role of family. “It started with a son who was interested in anything with four wheels. We started with me being a race mum which grew into me being an events secretary at our local club, taking part in stage rallies, and now I am part of Motorsport UK’s Women in Motorsport Sub-committee.
“It has opened up so many doors for my passion to be in motorsport. I run events, I marshal at events, my young son who is seven knows how to do timekeeping. There are so many roles that can be fulfilled in motorsport and so many factors that go into being able to make these events possible. When you see someone doing it it then pushes across to everyone else.
“The response today to our women in motorsport day has been incredibly positive. Everyone I spoke to has an enthusiasm around our goal and wants to talk more about it. I spoke to a young girl who must be about 9 or 10 today who used the word equality. Seeing women in this position inspires young girls to want to do more and think that ‘if these women can do that, I can do that too’.”
If you’re wondering how you can start your motorsport journey, there are a variety of options available – even if you are under 18 or not a competitor.
Find out more about the different types of motorsport and how you can get started here